Residents Flee Homes as Wis. Levee Starts to Fail

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Some residents of the central Wisconsin town of Portage have fled their homes in the face of rising floodwaters after a levee started to fail Sunday, sending water from the Wisconsin River into at least one residential area.

Officials said part of the levee south of Highway 33 had eroded Sunday and water was leaking out, although the levee had not completely collapsed.

Some people could be stranded in their homes. The only road in and out of the area remains covered with water.

Kathy Matavka said she was taken from her home by boat after she received a second call urging her to evacuate.

"If I didn't sit there and take the boat, I would be stuck. I would not be able to get groceries. I would not be able to get medications I need to take," Matavka told WISC-TV in Madison.

Those residents who were evacuated might be out of their homes for up to a week, and the Red Cross has opened a shelter at a local church.

Thunderstorms dropped several inches of rain in southern Minnesota and central Wisconsin last week, causing rivers and creeks to top their banks.

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